Headaches at the SEC’s think tank

by Sarah N. Lynch for Reuters, May 3rd, 2011.

The Securities and Exchange Commission pulled out all the stops when it tapped University of Texas law professor Henry Hu to head the first new division created at the agency in 37 years.

An unusually generous temporary contract brought Hu to Washington in September of 2009 to oversee the new Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation, part of the agency’s effort to address an embarrassing failure to catch swindler Bernard Madoff and adapt to new Wall Street products that could become the next financial weapons of mass destruction.

Hu, with three degrees from Yale and the author of papers on derivatives and financial regulation, looked perfect to lead the “think tank” division that SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro tasked with anticipating market problems.

But Hu departed in January, leaving the division searching for a chief economist and new permanent director, and with questions swirling about how much was accomplished during his roughly 16 months on the job. (continue reading… )

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